Pre-Term and Post-Term Births

By Susan Inwood, RN on April 10, 2008
Not all pregnancies go as planned so its important to be prepared.

Pre-term birth

Babies born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy are considered to have been born prematurely— about ten percent of pregnancies are preterm. Eighty percent of premature babies survive with no long-term effect.

Those at the most risk are those who are born extremely early—less than 27 weeks gestation—and have extremely low birth weight.

Causes of Pre-term labour             
The cause of pre-term labours is unknown. However, there are some conditions that are known to increase the risk of per-term labour:

  • Maternal conditions, such as diabetes or haemorrhage
  • Premature rupture of the amniotic sac (the bag of fluid surrounding the fetus)
  • Multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets)
  • Heavy smoking during pregnancy
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • A previous premature labour

Discuss you concerns with your doctor and/ or nurse, as these concerns are generally unfounded.

Know your body     
Early detection can lead to actions that may prevent an early delivery. Many of the signs of early labour are subtle; so get to know your body and understand what is normal for you. Learn the symptoms listed below and do not hesitate to contact your caregiver if you have any concerns.

By Susan Inwood, RN| April 10, 2008

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